Japanese space debris startup Astroscale raises $151m in Series E

Astroscale, the Japanese startup that develops satellites to remove space debris from Earth’s orbit, has raised $191 million in a Series E funding round led by local investor aSTART Co Ltd.

In a statement, the Japanese on-orbit servicing company said the Series E funding round was closed after receiving additional funding of $51 million from a group of investors.

The total of $191 million raised for the Series E funding makes Astroscale the most funded on-orbit services and logistics company globally and the most funded space ventures in Japan.

Investors in the funding round also include Hulic Co Ltd, I-Net Corp, Shimizu Corporation, and SPARX Space Frontier Fund.

Astroscale said the latest funding will allow the company to continue developing technologies, defining business cases, and working with policymakers to ensure debris issues are addressed and servicing opportunities for sustainability are realized.

Nobu Okada, founder and CEO of Astroscale said he has seen a growing awareness of the debris issue and the recognition that protecting space technologies is essential to ensure sustainability on Earth.

Astroscale reported that approximately 750,000 space debris objects over one centimeter in diameter exist in space, threatening satellites and spacecraft that orbit the Earth.

“Our multiple funding rounds are a testament to the power of Astroscale’s vision of space sustainability, and this latest series will allow us to continue developing the technologies that will lead the debris removal and on-orbit servicing market,” Okada added.

Astroscale also noted how senior officials from government and industry have been increasingly expressing concerns over the growing dangers of space debris to assets in orbit.

Recently, near misses of space debris with the International Space Station and multiple conjunction warnings for both active and defunct satellites have spurred more concerted international action to overcome the issue, the company stressed.

“Space debris is a serious issue that has the potential to affect our daily lives, the global economy, and environmental sustainability… we will continue to support Astroscale in developing new on-orbit servicing capabilities,” said Kazumasa Watanabe, CEO of aSTART.

Founded in 2013, Astroscale’s goal as a space company is focused on securing long-term spaceflight safety by providing space debris removal services.

Astroscale Japan is on schedule to ship the pioneering End-of-Life Services by Astroscale-demonstration (ELSA-d) mission, the world’s first demonstration of commercial orbital debris removal.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.